Posted by: Ken Wheatley | January 24, 2008

And so it begins

Today was Sheila’s first day of chemo. As one could expect she was pretty nervous this morning before we got to the hospital. But after the nurse got the IV started she was back to her normal self. We’ve fallen into this habit now of everytime she gets a needle we kiss until they’re done taking their sample or getting the IV started. It takes her mind off of it, plus I don’t have to watch. It’s tough seeing her pricked all the time. Her poor arms!

There were two other patients in the room – one guy who was talking a little about his WWII experiences in Colorado – and another from Wisconsin who was receiving a blood transfusion because his red blood cell count had dropped too low. Something that’s probably going to happen with her as well. Poor guy had to be there for 5 hours. We lucked out and were finished in 3.

Yesterday she was supposed to have a bone biopsy. We cried a lot when the nurse was getting her ready. For some reason Sheila was very, very emotional. The crocodile tears just kept coming and when she cries like that I can stop my tears. She was so afraid. Of course we kissed a lot when the nurse was putting the IV in and I just laid against her face. She finally calmed down, and we actually laughed about some things.

But then when the doctor showed up to explain the procedure he surprised us with the news that he was going to biopsy the lymph node above her stomach. I wasn’t too happy with that development. It was obvious that there was a difference of opinion between Drs. Lyn and Kosty, and now the doctor doing the procedure, Dr. Jack Zyroff was doing what Lyn ordered. His position was that it was far more painful and dangerous to biopsy the tumor on her spine versus the lymph node, especially for the return. They mainly wanted to determine if the cancer has in fact spread from her chest area. I tried challenging the decision, because I was under the impression that discovering if it was in her bone(s) was more important. But it was obvious that Zyroff didn’t want to hear or answer much. So away she went.

The procedure took about an hour and she was in recovery about 2 hours. Then we went to gastro to see what the pain is in her side. The doctor felt that it is a result of the tumor in her lung and perhaps the one above her stomach that is causing the problem. She’s in varying degrees of pain 24/7 now. Tylenol seems to help, but it’s constant.

We left the hospital and went to her office to get some things done, and to talk to Mary and Steve. We need to layoff 4 employees to stave off the losses and make some other changes – like dumping unprofitable accounts. So Steve and I will do the layoffs on Thursday and then I’ll have an all employee meeting to re-energize the remaining (17) employees. I’m confident that we’ll turn things around and make the company comfortably profitable again.

Sheila’s in great spirits this afternoon and has actually spend all of the time since we’ve been home banging away on the computer doing emails and handling customer/employee calls. Plus she smiled more today than I’ve seen in quite awhile. One of the things about her that I’ve always liked is that she smiles. A lot. Even when we’re grocery shopping I’ll look over and she’ll have a smile on her face. I actually try to imitate that to see what that must feel like and even though I’m basically a happy guy, I couldn’t walk around like that. But it’s pleasing to see her do it.

 Oh…one really touching thing happened last night. She was really, really tired from the procedure and drugs. So she fell asleep on the couch while we were watching NCIS. I eventually woke her up and put her to bed. It was way too early for me to go to bed, so as I was tucking the blankets up around her neck she asked for Elmer. Elmer is a stuffed animal (a teddy bear) I had made for her when we first started dating over 4 years ago. I took her on a surprise visit to the bear making place so we could do it together.

So I asked her what she wanted to do with him and she said being I wasn’t coming to bed yet, she wanted Elmer with her. She took him from my hand and tucked him in next to her. I don’t know why, but that really got to me. I know she has him in bed with her when I travel, but this was the first time I had seem him there next to her. She looked so beautiful and tender. I wish I had the camera.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of her over the years, but now I want to take even more. Even though it would have been creepy, I thought about it today when the chemo started dripping down the line and into her arm. She looked at the tube and then turned to me and asked for a kiss. As she asked her head was tilted a little to the left and her beautiful, blond hair fell just over her face and her blue eyes were just amazing. I thought, what a beautiful picture this would make to remind us of this day. This time.

She’s very optomistic that the chemo will work. I pray that it does. We have to have convincing hope. It’s tough not to get your hopes up, but I dread our reaction if it doesn’t work. It has to. It just flat out has to work. We are exploring other treatment options just in case.

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